Matthews, Guest: Trump, Base Are ‘Existential Crisis,’ ‘White Identity Cult’ Who Hate America

That’s right, Trump supporters and non-liberals. According to MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews and lefty author Tim Wise on Monday, 2020 must be framed as not just an election between a Democratic candidate and President Donald Trump but a question of whether Americans want to reelect “a moral danger” supported by a “white identity cult” that rejects “the values that Americans hold dear.”

And not only that, but the President and those who support him are the real groups of people who hate America, unlike the far-left of this country and “The Squad.”

 

 

In a tease for Wise’s appearance, Matthews put this question to the audience (click “expand”):

Democrats face a choice in 2020. Do they take on Donald Trump as if he's just another Republican President whose policies they say are wrong or do they argue something more dire? That the man seeking a second term in the White House presents a moral danger to this country. Do they make 2020 a fight between good and evil? Well, in a series of tweets that went viral this weekend, author and anti-racism activist Tim Wise compared the challenge Democrats face now to what they faced when the former KKK leader David Duke was running for office in Louisiana in the early 1999s. 

Wise posted an enormously-long, 34-tweet thread about how Democrats should treat Trump in much the same way David Duke is treated and correctly ostracized from the real parameters of America political life due to his hateful rhetoric.

After the break, Matthews gushed to Wise that he “serendipitously came to” the same conclusion “over the weekend about the morality of this election and think about this as a Manichean struggle between good and evil.”

Wise replied that, while he won’t directly “say that Duke and Trump are the same, but they both appeal to white racial resentment as the yeast that makes their political bread rise and when you were dealing with a movement that focuses on that, in a sense a white identity cult,” it’s inadequate to treat them “like...just another candidate.”

He then continued by doing exactly what he said he wouldn’t do, which is suggest “Dukism” and “Trumpism” are similar because of the doom they spell for America and that both groups hate the country (click “expand”):

With Duke, you know, what we learned is you have to make this a moral message that Dukism and I would say now Trumpism pose an existential threat to the values that Americans hold dear. So in other words when they say the squad hates America, no, no, no, your movement hates America as an idea, an idea of multiculturalism, of pluralism, and of democracy. That's the only way we're going to motivate the base. It's the only way we're going to get reasonable moderates and conservatives who probably are never going to agree on policy with the candidates the Democrats have, but they can come together on the basis of a moral message and we can live to fight another day about the issues that we care about once the Democrat has defeated Donald Trump. 

Presumably, the likes of ABC’s Jonathan Karl or CBS’s Norah O’Donnell or CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Brian Stelter won’t be running to police Matthews and Wise, urging them to tone down their rhetoric

After Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson chimed into hail Wise’s supposedly masterful thinking, Wise would up again and giving some debate advice to Democrats, which suggested they compare President Trump to opioids (click “expand”):

Well, I think any of those debaters on the stage in the debates coming up ought to lead by saying, “listen, we have some disagreements on this stage and I happen to like my plans better than the podium next to me's plans, but the truth is everybody up here has better ideas for the country than Donald Trump and we hope that you check them out, but in the meantime, please understand that this movement he is leading poses a threat to the values that this country holds dear. It is a movement that is opposed to pluralism, opposed to multiculturalism. It is a white identity cult and we all can do better than that.” Now I also think it's important to take those issues and filter them through a lens that contrasts them with the white resentment politics....You're always linking it back and making it clear that Donald Trump is essentially a walking, talking opiate. We talk about the opioid crisis as being heroin and fentanyl. Donald Trump is a human opiate. What does it do? Says I can take away your pain but it doesn't actually solve the source of the pain.” That’s what these individuals should be saying. That is what we said against David Duke in '90 and '91 and it is the only thing that prevented a Nazi and former Klansman from winning those races.  

To close out the show, Matthews offered a commentary that compared America rising up to unite after the Civil War and during the civil rights movement to 2020 because it will mark “another point of historic point of moral conflict and for millions of voters, moral decision” because “[r]e-electing Donald Trump....reeks of immorality.”

He then concluded:

He cannot be a good American and mock the Americaness of someone based on color or ethnicity for the simply reason that we are a country not based on such factors, but on more basic notions of liberty and human dignity. Re-electing Donald Trump would take us into a dangerous moral direction from which it will take a wrenching turn to get us back. Instead of delivering us from evil, it would deliver us to evil. It's something to be said about looking toward 2020. It could be the most important thing to think about.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on July 22, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Hardball
July 22, 2019
7:42 p.m. Eastern

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Democrats face a choice in 2020. Do they take on Donald Trump as if he's just another Republican President whose policies they say are wrong or do they argue something more dire? That the man seeking a second term in the White House presents a moral danger to this country. Do they make 2020 a fight between good and evil? Well, in a series of tweets that went viral this weekend, author and anti-racism activist Tim Wise compared the challenge Democrats face now to what they faced when the former KKK leader David Duke was running for office in Louisiana in the early 1999s. Wise, who campaigned against Duke and helped defeat him twice, argued that Democrats will blow this election if they fail to focus on the evil that Trump personifies. Wise writes: “People who say the [Democrats] should ignore Trump's race baiting because its [sic] some genius political strategy calculated to distract us, are idiots. He is no genius. And if you downplay it you NORMALIZE him. If you make this about policy, you NORMALIZE him.” He adds: “If anything, I would say crafting an argument that this is an existential crisis for the nation–and making it about Trump's bigotry and who we want to be as a country would be far more effective.” Wow. Tim Wise says that as Democrats prepare for 2020, there is a lesson they can learn from Republicans. Wise joins us next.

(....)

7:47 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS: As Democrats work on their strategy to counter President Trump ahead of the 2020 election, anti-racism activist Tim Wise who helped to defeat David Duke in two campaigns in the 1990s, provided this advice for Democrats. He tweeted: “What the left never understands we need to stop approaching elections like the [expletive] debate team, and start approaching it like the right does, like the cheerleading squad. The right knows psychology and we know public policy and sociology...great. The latter does not win elections.” Joining me now is Tim Weiss, the author of White Like Me: Reflections on Racism from the Eyes of a Racist Son and Eugene Robinson, columnist at The Washington Post. Tim, this theme of yours which, you know, I have serendipitously came to myself over the weekend about the morality of this election and think about this as a Manichean struggle between good and evil. Talk about your thinking, which is more analytical about it. 

TIM WISE: Yeah, you know, one of the things that we learned dealing with David Duke — and I'm not trying to say that Duke and Trump are the same, but they both appeal to white racial resentment as the yeast that makes their political bread rise and when you were dealing with a movement that focuses on that, in a sense a white identity cult, to act like they are just another candidate, to say, “well, yeah, you know, he is sort of racist, but look at my policy to make college affordable or look at my better health care plan that’s going to be so much better than his” is to miss the point. With Duke, you know, what we learned is you have to make this a moral message that Dukism and I would say now Trumpism pose an existential threat to the values that Americans hold dear. So in other words when they say the squad hates America, no, no, no, your movement hates America as an idea, an idea of multiculturalism, of pluralism, and of democracy. That's the only way we're going to motivate the base. It's the only way we're going to get reasonable moderates and conservatives who probably are never going to agree on policy with the candidates the Democrats have, but they can come together on the basis of a moral message and we can live to fight another day about the issues that we care about once the Democrat has defeated Donald Trump. 

MATTHEWS: Gene, your reaction to that? 

EUGENE ROBINSON: Well, you know, I've read Tim’s thread with great interest over the weekend. In fact, I retweeted it. I — I thought it was — I thought it had great insights, particularly the bit about the debating team versus the cheerleading squad. 

WISE: Yeah. 

ROBINSON: And — and, you know, you look at the field of Democratic candidates and I totally agree that if it's — if it's sort of emotionless policy, no matter how wonderfully, finely constructed and put together, that's no competition to the sort of emotional visceral appeal — 

WISE: Right. 

ROBINSON: — that Trump is making to his base. And I also agree that there are not a lot of persuadables here. There are not a lot of undecideds here. 

MATTHEWS: Yeah. 

ROBINSON: You know, after Charlottesville, after — you know, after name your atrocity, I think the people who were part of Trump's coalition in 2016 who said, you know, “basta! I've had enough with this guy.” They probably have said that, right? 

WISE: Right. 

ROBINSON: They're probably not going to say it between now and then. They probably now are not still teetering on the fence. So I don't — I don't know what you gain by trying to appeal to what I think is kind of a mythical group of people —

MATTHEWS: Yeah.

WISE: Right. 

ROBINSON: — that you're going to peel away from him. 

MATTHEWS: Tim, I'm looking at the candidates. Even after just one debate, everybody watching watched that debate. There will be another in a couple of weeks. Each of the candidates in the Democratic side have already got banners they're carrying. 

WISE: Yeah. 

MATTHEWS: They have a banner of Medicare for all. They got a banner on immigration issues, about compassion at the border, whatever, student loan issues. They have a lot of banners they're already trucking out there. 

WISE: Right. 

MATTHEWS: How do they put them aside or at least deflect them for a moment and, say, “no, you know what? It's not about left or right or policy prescriptions, it's about what kind of country we want to be.” How does anybody sort of get themselves, you know, disarmed at least to make that point? 

WISE: Well, I think any of those debaters on the stage in the debates coming up ought to lead by saying, “listen, we have some disagreements on this stage and I happen to like my plans better than the podium next to me's plans, but the truth is everybody up here has better ideas for the country than Donald Trump and we hope that you check them out, but in the meantime, please understand that this movement he is leading poses a threat to the values that this country holds dear. It is a movement that is opposed to pluralism, opposed to multiculturalism. It is a white identity cult and we all can do better than that.” Now I also think it's important to take those issues and filter them through a lens that contrasts them with the white resentment politics. So, for example, if I'm a candidate who wants to talk about Wall Street or how corporations don't pay their workers enough, I need to be saying, “you know, Donald Trump wants you to think that the reason your paycheck isn't big enough is because taxes are going to support people of color or immigrants are taking your job. What we're telling you is, no, no, that's not the source of your problem, here's the source of your problem, but you're always linking it back and making it clear that Donald Trump is essentially a walking, talking opiate. We talk about the opioid crisis as being heroin and fentanyl. Donald Trump is a human opiate. What does it do? Says I can take away your pain but it doesn't actually solve the source of the pain.” That’s what these individuals should be saying. That is what we said against David Duke in '90 and '91 and it is the only thing that prevented a Nazi and former Klansman from winning those races.  

(....)

7:58 p.m. Eastern

MATTHEWS:  I want to follow up on what we discussed before the break, the moral dimension of next year's election. Much of our country's history has been a moral struggle, don't you think? We had the Battle Hymn of the Republic playing as our country lost 600,000 lives in the war that ended slavery and whatever else can be said about it, the Civil War was profoundly about that: Ending the evil of one man owning another. And then a century later came another moral victory with the civil rights movement and the passage of the bill to end separate water fountains, white-only department store lunch counters, and white-only restaurants and hotels. And after that came the Voting Rights Act. In each of these cases, the country's majority population backed the moral course, ending slavery, ending Jim Crow, ending the deprivation of voter rights, and we now face another point of historic point of moral conflict and for millions of voters, moral decision. Re-electing Donald Trump, given what he said from the very beginning as a national political force to his latest rants about sending home members of the United States Congress, reeks of immorality. He cannot be a good American and mock the Americaness of someone based on color or ethnicity for the simply reason that we are a country not based on such factors, but on more basic notions of liberty and human dignity. Re-electing Donald Trump would take us into a dangerous moral direction from which it will take a wrenching turn to get us back. Instead of delivering us from evil, it would deliver us to evil. It's something to be said about looking toward 2020. It could be the most important thing to think about.

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism MSNBC Hardball Chris Matthews Eugene Robinson Tim Wise Donald Trump
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